This week is has proved to me that summer camp builds confidence, at least in my children.
In our house, it’s Summer Camp Week.
My boys are only doing one week of camp this summer. My 10 year old is spending a week in the woods at a YMCA camp. It’s his first sleep-away camp away from all of us. He has been an short camping trips with this school, but he has always been with his teachers, friends, and parent chaperones. This time he is away for an entire week and he only knows one or two kids at camp. I get glimpses of what he is doing, thanks to the camp Facebook page. But mostly, I have no idea what he is doing. I know he is having fun and I know it is so good for him. He needed a break from his brother and a chance for some independence. But I have a tiny weight on my heart and I can’t wait for him to come back.
My 8 year old is going to skateboarding camp. He has some pretty significant anxiety and sensory issues, so we basically had to force him to pick a camp. He whined and complained, then eventually gave in. We prepared by decorating his skate deck with stickers, laying out his clothes the night before and picking out a special water bottle. He was very nervous on the first day, so we got there a little early. He sat silently for the first 15 minutes. Then suddenly…he got up, grabbed his board, said goodbye and skated off. When I picked him up 3 hours later, I was expecting the usual…an overstimulated, anxious kid who would swear he was never going back to camp and I couldn’t make him. But that is not what happened AT ALL.
Instead, he was GLOWING!
He couldn’t wait to show me his new skills! We stayed at the skatepark an extra hour and then he begged his dad to take him back after dinner. He was hooked! The next few days were similar. He can’t wait to get to the skatepark in the morning and practice, practice, practice.
I am so excited for him, but I am also excited for me and my husband. Having a kiddo with sensory issues and anxiety can be challenging. We often leave certain activities early or avoid them all together. Our older son has been involved in soccer for years and it’s “his thing.” Soccer has given him confidence and it challenges him perfectly. We’ve been waiting and wanting for our younger son to find “his thing.” I think he may have found it. I hope he has found it. The amount of confidence he has gained in just the last three days feels profound.
Have your kids gained skills and confidence at summer camp this year? I’d love to hear from you!